Abdul-Hakim // Lynn
As we approached the railroad bed, memories of drinking and smoking by the tracks after school filled my brain. Here was Mikey Aponte, now Abdul-Hakim, a 17-year-old high school student in Lynn, by the tracks, full of pride and conviction about the path, life, and religion he has chosen. ''People say you're Muslim now, you're a terrorist blah blah,'' he tells me. ''I used to mess with girls, smoking, drinking, partying. I stopped that. And they see that, man, this dude has changed his life, and he's doing it good. They notice that Muslims, they're not bad people. They notice that I try not to swear, I try not to lie to them. They kind of have a better understanding of Muslims. They say I don't believe in God. They say I worship Allah which is the Arabic name for God. The best thing for me being Muslim is I get the satisfaction of worshiping. I feel good about myself.''
audio: Click the play button below to listen to Abdul-Hakim.